Learning, Connection and Fun

@CHWKMuseum

Official Blog of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives

Archive for the ‘Engagement’ Category

To ‘do’ History

Posted on: July 19th, 2016 by

This past week I attended the Historical Thinking Summer Institute at the Museum of Vancouver. The course is intended for both museum professionals and teachers to explore The Big Six: Historical Thinking Concepts by Peter Seixas and Tom Morton. The book encompasses a shift in the way that museums and educators look at teaching and learning about history. In place of learning ‘the facts’ of history through textbook rote learning, students are being asked to ‘do’ history. This means actually acting as the historians themselves and constructing their understanding of history through the historical thinking concepts.

 
What are the Big Six?

Seeing historical thinking in action at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston.

Seeing historical thinking in action at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in Steveston.

Each of the concepts look at different aspects of constructing an history. They are Historical Significance, Evidence, Continuity and Change, Cause and Consequence, Historical Perspective and the Ethical Dimension.

 
Each concept has separate guideposts which illustrate how to work with them and also offer potential teaching strategies when approaching them with learners. All of the concepts work together to help learners begin to think like an historian. The interpretation of both primary and secondary sources (Evidence) is central to all of the concepts.

 
What does this have to do with museums?

 
Although historians and curators may use the historical thinking concepts, the process and skills that are used to put histories, exhibits together have not always been transparent. By sharing this process and helping to teach others to ‘do’ history themselves, museums and archives can open their collections to further understandings and interesting collaborations with the communities they work with.

 
Embracing the historical thinking concepts

 
This past week was filled with inspiring conversations with both museum professionals and teachers alike. The potential (and need!) for collaborations amongst teachers, museums, universities and so on stood out. We have a common interest and passion for history education and there are many ways we can better work together.

Using low-tech and hi-tech teaching strategies for an exhibit based historical thinking game!

Using low-tech and hi-tech teaching strategies for an exhibit based historical thinking game!

As part of our course, we were asked to work in groups, to come up with ideas on how to encourage and incorporate the historical thinking concepts into our practice, whether in the classroom, for a museum program or as an exhibit. Our group took a game-based approach and came up with an exhibit based game which had students thinking critically about primary sources, historical significance and perspectives.

 
There are so many great ideas and ways to bring historical thinking into museums. Leaving this course left me feeling inspired and enthusiastic to bring these ideas into my work here.

 
You can check out some of the photos and thoughts shared at this year’s institute with #HTSI2016.

Free Museum and Archives Memberships for Newcomers to Chilliwack!

Posted on: July 4th, 2016 by

Our vision here at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives is to “connect people with Chilliwack’s history.” We do this in many ways – through exhibits, publications, programs for students and the public, interaction online, and through various media. Now, the Chilliwack Museum and Archives are opening our doors wide, offering one-year memberships free of charge to all those who have made Chilliwack their home over the past twelve months.

kids at museum 13 DSC_0473

We know that many people are moving to Chilliwack and making this community their home. Sometimes when you arrive in a new place, it takes some time to get your bearings and feel “settled.” Many folks are relocating because Chilliwack is more affordable than greater Vancouver, and Chilliwack has great schools, abundant recreation, and friendly people. Some courageous people have made a new life here in Canada after having to leave everything behind in their homelands due to war and uncertainty.

Wherever you have come from – Sicamous or Sierra Leone, Surrey or Syria – you are welcome here! The Chilliwack Museum and Archives are yours to discover. Approximately 1400 newcomers made Chilliwack home last year, and that trend is likely to continue. We would like the Museum and Archives to be a place of connection where people can learn about the city – with its diverse stories, people, and experiences. Chilliwack is a community of villages – with each distinct area having its own unique character. From Rosedale to Yarrow and each neighbourhood in between, Chilliwack has a rich history that is worth exploring. You can do that here at the Museum and Archives.

Providing a membership opens an opportunity for people new to Chilliwack to take in our current exhibit Game On! The Evolution of Sports in Chilliwack or to experience our upcoming exhibit, opening in September – Photography: From Obscura to App.

All those who have settled in Chilliwack within the past twelve months are invited to come into the Museum, located in the historic Chilliwack City Hall National Historic Site (45820 Spadina Avenue), to claim their complimentary one-year membership. Alternatively, newcomers to the city can also sign up online at: http://www.chilliwackmuseum.ca/join-support/membership/, using the promotional code “chwk1957.” Membership gets you free admission to the Museum, as well as discounts on select products and services.

Membership Card-1

For more information, please feel free to contact me, Matthew Francis, any time at (604) 795-5210, or better yet – come by the Museum and say hello. 

Summer Outreach and Events

Posted on: June 16th, 2016 by

Myself and our summer student, Kelsey, have been working hard to get ready for summer here at the museum and out in the community. We’re looking forward to taking part in Canada Day celebrations as well as Party in the Park with the Downtown Chilliwack BIA.

Kelsey poses with one of our new Discovery Bins. Come visit to find out what's inside!

Kelsey poses with one of our new Discovery Bins. Come visit to find out what’s inside!

Getting out into the community and taking part in events is important to us as we seek to share our community’s history! This year we’re focusing on bringing fun hands-on activities to these events that will help tell the story of our past for both young and old alike.

 
Each Party in the Park night we’ll be focusing on a different topic that relates to Chilliwack’s history. Join us at our tent to learn more about Chilliwack and check out our selection of local history books, including the recently re-published Chilliwack Story.

 
We’re also planning to bring the fun inside the museum with our updated Discovery Bins. Each bin contains hands-on objects and activities on specific topics to explore. We’ll be highlighting the bins with activities each week of the summer – find out what’s happening here!

 
As we get closer to the final few months of our exhibit Game On! The Evolution of Sports in Chilliwack, we’ll be inviting families to join us on July 30th for a Family Fun Day at the museum including tours, sports activities, games, prizes and more! We hope to see you there!

The Perfect Combination of History and Education

Posted on: June 1st, 2016 by

Being fairly new to the museum community, my first month as the Education and Engagement Assistant has been full of learning. Not only am I learning more about Chilliwack’s history and our current exhibits, I am learning about a new career possibility.

 

The Chilliwack Museum and Archives snapchat code.

The Chilliwack Museum and Archives snapchat code.

For as long as I can remember, my goal has been to become an elementary school teacher. I enjoy working with kids and I love helping people learn. I am currently working towards a history major at the University of the Fraser Valley. However, as I get closer to finishing my degree, I worry that I won’t be able to embrace history in an elementary classroom as much as I would like. With little interest in teaching middle and secondary grades, I’ve found myself wondering what other job possibilities there are that embrace both education and history. Working along side the Education and Engagement Coordinator has been extremely helpful in teaching me about an amazing career option. Not only does this position let you dive into history, it also provides the opportunity to work with children through the various school programs offered at the museum.

 
In my first month here, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in many of the different aspects of the position. I’ve helped facilitate some of the school programs, both here at the museum and at the schools. I’ve also participated in several meetings with teachers about an exciting new local history kits project. These meetings are one of my favourite things I’ve been able to take part in. Being able to see and give input on a collaboration between the museum and the teachers is wonderful. It’s made me aware of the various things I could do as a future teacher along with the museum.

 

Gathering supplies for the Discovery Cupboard update!

Gathering supplies for the Discovery Cupboard update!

I’ve also been able to take part in my own projects, such as creating a museum snapchat (CHWKmuseum). After seeing that various other museums had successful snapchats, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, I was inspired to create one, hoping to use it as a fun way to interact with the younger generations. The main project I’ve been working on over the past month was updating and revamping our Discovery Cupboard. The Discovery Cupboard is an important part of our museum, as it is designed to provide engaging and hands on bins for kids. I have been working hard to reorganize the content of the bins and have more guided activities in them as well. Be sure to keep up to date with the museum as we will be hosting crafts throughout July and August to highlight our newly updated Discovery Cupboard.

 
Overall, my first month at the museum has been full of exciting projects, experiences and learning about different career options that combine both history and education. I’m excited to see what more projects and experiences are to come for the rest of the summer.

 

Kelsey Ablitt, Education and Engagement Assistant

Technology of the Past

Posted on: April 13th, 2016 by
Polaroid Land Camera CMA 2003.013.007

This Polaroid Land Camera was purchased for $6.65 in 1972. This equates to about $45 if adjusted for inflation. Chilliwack Museum and Archives 2003.013.007

Who out there remembers Polaroid cameras? Or film? These technologies seem like a distant memory for many, if not completely unknown to younger generations. Nowadays, you can take a photo on your phone and share it with anyone you want within 30 seconds. There is even an app for taking a photo just to have it disappear!

Our upcoming exhibit, Photography from Obscura to App explores how the developments in photographic processes and techniques have formed how we photograph, what we photograph, and how photography has shaped our perception of the world we live in.   Economics is closely linked not only with the development of photographic processes and technology, but also with the esthetic unfolding of photography.  There has been a struggle to generate ideas that make photography more inexpensive and more exact, and to give it the most extensive possible distribution. The competition between various technologies and processes that began with the invention of photography in 1839 has resulted in the profusion of easily accessible images we surround ourselves with today.

In the early twenty-first century we are so familiar with the photograph and other technically reproduced imagery, that to imagine a world without these visuals is hard. The invention of photography was such an astonishing achievement in the mid-nineteenth century that perhaps its only imaginable equivalent might be the invention of the internet. Photography now relates to everything within society and art.

Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura

The first record of the Camera Obscura principle goes back to Ancient Greece, when Aristotle noticed how light passing through a small hole into a darkened room produces an image on the wall opposite, during a partial eclipse of the sun.

One of the first forms of photography was the Camera Obscura, which is essentially a dark, closed space in the shape of a box with a hole on one side of it. The hole has to be small enough in proportion to the box to make the Camera Obscura work properly. The way it works is that due, to optical laws, the light coming through a tiny hole transforms and creates an image on the surface that it meets, i.e. the wall of the box. The image was mirrored and upside down, however, so basically everything that makes today’s analogue camera’s principles different to Camera Obscura ones are the mirrors and the film which is used to capture and preserve the image created by the light.

What other forms of photography are now only in history? Too many to count! Photography from Obscura to App opens on September 22, 2016 at the Chilliwack Museum. Stay tuned for more photographic history throughout the summer.

Sparking Conversations

Posted on: March 30th, 2016 by

Tomorrow evening we are welcoming viaSport BC to the museum along with four female panelists for our Game On! Women in Sport event. As our archivist mentioned in a previous blog post, this is somewhat of an unusual event for the museum. Yet these types of events are very relevant to the work of museums today.

The_Chilliwack_Progress_Thu__Nov_1__1928_

One of the newspaper clippings I found while searching for articles covering women in sports. Chilliwack Progress Newspaper Clipping, November 1, 1928 page 8.

 
I’m very excited that we were able to make the connection with viaSport to host such a great event for our community. History is a living part of who we are, it has shaped the way we live, how we communicate with each other, and even how we go forward into the future. Understanding our past helps us better understand our present, in order to better shape the future. This is exactly what Game On! Women in Sport is all about. We’ll be shining a light on the achievements of women athletes in the past, looking at how far women have come in sports today and talking about goals and dreams for women in sport in the future. What would this event look like 50 years from now? What memorabilia, stories, artifacts, newspaper articles would tell the story of women in sport then?

 
Hosting an event like this inevitably sparks interesting conversation, even before the event has occurred. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had great conversations about not only women in sports but the history of sports in general with museum volunteers, journalists, athletes and so on. I’ve learned about style guides for journalists which describe appropriate language for writing about women athletes, I’ve heard stories of frustration when facing sexism in the sports world, and I’ve learned a lot about the importance of leveling the field in sports from our viaSport partners.

 
As I go forward with planning for the next year of events here at the museum, I’ll look to find opportunities like this one to build on the stories our exhibits start to tell and to spark conversations which are relevant not only today but for the future as well. History is not only important to learn about in order to understand our past, but it helps inform our actions as we look towards the future.

 

Women and Sports

Posted on: March 16th, 2016 by

This month there is an unusual event taking place at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives. The event features a panel of athletes, coaches and sports administrators who will talk about sports and answer questions related to their sports careers. I know what you are thinking – why is a museum hosting a sports-related event? Typically when people get together to discuss sports, it’s over a few beers in a bar. So what’s up?

Game On! Women in Sports

Our event is called Game On! Women in Sports and takes place in the Chambers Gallery of the Chilliwack Museum and Archives at 7pm on Thursday, March 31. Our major partner for this event is ViaSport BC, British Columbia’s sport agency, who have been promoting their provincial campaign advocating for gender equity in sport called Level the Field (#LevelTheField). The timing is good: ViaSport’s gender equity campaign parallels our current exhibit about Chilliwack’s sporting history Game On! The History of Sports in Chilliwack. The symposium and our partnership: a natural fit.

Why the Topic of Women in Sports?

Chilliwack Girls Hockey Team 1964

Chilliwack Girls hockey team from Left to Right, Front row: Carol Wawryk, Donna Coldwell, Yvonne Percher, Heather Innes, Mavis Tetlock, Lynne Furnis, Fay Cross. Back row: Ann Hanna, Sandra Roach, Colleen Barrow, Bev Carmichael, Arlene Price, Joene Pyvis, Judy Caldwell, and Coach Fred Madden. 1964. 1999.029.042.018

As our Curator Jane was busy scouring our Archives for sports-related material, it was quickly realized that something was missing from the historical sports record – women. While there was some evidence that women were involved in sports and recreation to varying degrees over the years, little of this research or archival documentation has been deposited at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives.

Newspapers, haven’t always highlighted or included female sporting accomplishments either. But we know that women did participate in, and excel at, sports. Photographs, oral histories and community members and a few artifacts help tell the stories. They speak of achievements on a local and regional level in team sports like basketball and field hockey, bowling, curling and lawn bowling for example. Women formed teams and clubs, officiated, coached and had fun, even through controversy at times.

The Game On! Women in Sport symposium on March 31st intends to fill in the gaps missing from our exhibit  – to bring the achievements and history of Fraser Valley’s women athletes, coaches, participants and builders, out from the darkness and into the light.

A Personal Connection

Shannon Bettles goalie

I always wanted to be a goaltender, even at a young age.

I’m very excited that such an event is being held by the Chilliwack Museum and Archives in partnership with ViaSport. Today’s museums and archives are more than dust-collecting warehouses of ancient artifacts – they are about stories and relationships. Bringing builders and champions in female sport together to tell their past and present stories are part of what Museums and Archives are all about. Sharing, learning, growing and laughing together – we remember and move forward in a positive way.

I am proud that my father was a champion of women’s sports. In the 1980s he volunteered for the Aldergrove Ringette Association to develop and promote ringette, a sport today enjoyed by thousands of girls, boys, women and men across Canada. In 1995, he fought to obtain ice as he organized Langley’s first girls’ ice hockey association.

I’ve been very fortunate to have been involved in team sports like ice hockey, ringette and softball for over 30 years. The opportunities to participate in and represent my province and country in the sports of hockey and ringette would not have been possible without the hard work of the women and men before me who fought to level the field.

Shannon Bettles University of Guelph

Here I am playing goal for the University of Guelph Gryphons, 2001. I attended the first Canadian University Championships for women’s hockey in 1998.

I hope to see a packed house on March 31 to welcome our panelists and ViaSport guests at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives. I would be thrilled to see the next generation of young female athletes, coaches, officials and administrators fill the room alongside the veteran athletes. My dad’s wish for his daughters was that they continue to give back to and support women’s sport. I have taken the ViaSport #LevelTheField pledge, I hope you do too.

Thomas Hooper, Architect

Posted on: March 5th, 2016 by

Heritage Week FINAL2

Despite it being a rainy night in Chilliwack, on Friday February 19th the Chambers Gallery here at the Museum was filled with a capacity crowd – excited to hear Donald Luxton’s Heritage Week presentation, “Thomas Hooper, Architect.”

Hooper is best known here as the architect responsible for designing and building the 1912 Chilliwack City Hall (a designated National Historic Site of Canada), which now houses our Museum.

Vancouver-based heritage consultant and architectural historian Donald Luxton has spent more than thirty years researching Hooper’s life and work, who in the early 20th century ran the largest and most successful architectural practice in western Canada.

We were honoured to welcome Don back to the Chilliwack Museum and Archives for this enjoyable and educational evening, connecting people with Chilliwack’s history.

Donald Luxton kept the audience on the edge of their seat with his dynamic talk abou the life and work of Thomas Hooper.

Donald Luxton kept the audience on the edge of their seat with his dynamic talk showcasing the life and work of Thomas Hooper.

If you missed the presentation, you can check out an audio recording of it, accompanied by some images, on our YouTube site

 

New Museum Hours Coming Soon!

Posted on: January 28th, 2016 by

It was just about a year ago – Groundhog’s Day, to be precise –  that I began my role as Executive Director here at the Chilliwack Museum and Archives. But unlike the well-known Bill Murray movie of that name, no day has quite been the same! Over the past year, there have been many great opportunities to get to know people in our community, and to listen to what is important to you.

Matthew Francis DSC_0583

Matthew Francis, Executive Director, Chilliwack Museum and Archives

So many people in Chilliwack – in its many distinct communities, villages, and neighbourhoods – love learning about their histories – both shared and unique. The Chilliwack Museum and Archives is a place dedicated to doing just that. Along with our mandate to conserve the artifacts and records entrusted to our care, we are looking for ways to make our resources more accessible.

We are a Research Centre

The Archives, located at Evergreen Hall on Corbould Street, functions as a Research Centre. Do you have questions about Chilliwack’s history you would like to explore? A great place to start is online – you can search our Archival Holdings from the comfort of your home via www.chilliwackmuseum.ca, discovering photographs and artifacts that may be relevant to your research interests.

Shannon Bettles, Archivist

Shannon Bettles, Archivist, Chilliwack Museum and Archives

Your online search might open up new questions – and our Archivist, Shannon Bettles, or our Curator, Jane Lemke, may be able to aid you in your exploration.

Jane Lemke, Curator

Jane Lemke, Curator, Chilliwack Museum and Archives

We are a place of learning, connection, and fun!

Our Museum, located since 1987 in the National Historic Site of Canada Chilliwack City Hall, is a place of learning and wonder. People relish experiencing the Museum’s exhibits, most often as fun, quality time with family and friends, and other times as a solo journey of recollection. Our current exhibit, Game On! The Evolution of Sports in Chilliwack has opened our doors to new audiences, who never really thought of themselves as “Museum people,” but ended up finding out, enjoyably, that they were.

 

Growing and Changing to Serve You Better

That said, I do have to admit that a number of people have offered me comments like:

  • “You know, I’ve lived in Chilliwack my whole life, but I’ve never actually come into the Museum. I should really visit sometime!”

Or…

  • “I’d love to bring my kids/grandchildren/nieces and nephews to Museum, but we can’t seems to make it there during your opening hours.”

Or….

  • “I brought my out of town guests to the Museum, but we were disappointed to find the doors closed on a Saturday when we stopped by.”

These observations mean a lot to me. Our current hours for the Museum, Monday to Friday, 9:00am to 4:30pm, have made it a challenge for some in our community to connect with Chilliwack’s history through experiencing the Museum. I am very pleased to announce that we will soon be extending its hours to serve you better –  we will still be open Monday to Friday, but soon also – Thursday evenings until 8:30pm and Saturdays 10:00am-2:00pm. As Director, I am excited about this opportunity, and it’s time to begin to get the word out.

We are currently in the process of hiring new part-time staff members to make this plan a reality, and we look forward to beginning these new Museum Hours in late February or early March. Stay tuned! We are always looking for news ways to connect people with Chilliwack’s history. Opening the doors to welcome people at times that work for them is just one of those ways.

The Local Connection

Posted on: January 20th, 2016 by
Bytown Museum

In front of the Bytown Museum after a skate on the Rideau Canal, construction of which was supervised by Colonel By himself.

A number of years ago I worked at the Bytown Museum in Ottawa, a local history museum much like the Chilliwack Museum. As a native Ottawan, I enjoyed being surrounded by my city’s history; I learned more about the growth of ‘Bytown’, which later became Ottawa, than I had in all my years of schooling in the city. Much of Ottawa’s history involved the once very affluent lumber industry and a whole floor of the museum was dedicated to sharing this story. I knew that many of my ancestors had been involved in lumber along the Ottawa River. Learning more about this history gave me a strong sense of place and helped me connect with my family’s part in Ottawa’s story.

Place-based Learning

Place-based learning wasn’t very common when I went through the Ontario curriculum. Educator’s, more and more, are recognizing the importance of learning about and through the place where you live – whether it is studying the surrounding countryside for science and geography classes or learning about local history in social studies. Making connections to ‘the local’ is an important aspect of learning in today’s schools.

Curriculum

Part of the Christmas Program set-up. This is where I made countless mashed potato candies this past Christmas.

Part of the Christmas Program set-up. This is where I made countless mashed potato candies this past Christmas.

The new BC Curriculum reflects this. A quick search for the word ‘local’ in the new online curriculum brings up hits at all grade levels. As a local history museum, we have a unique opportunity to support Chilliwack’s schools as they adapt to this new curriculum. Our Christmas program, which has become somewhat of a tradition with many Chilliwack schools, has been sharing local stories with school children for years. This past Christmas, I was able to offer the program again and not only shared some interesting and fun stories with over 400 children, teachers and adults, but learned more about Chilliwack along the way. Quite often a name or picture would spark someone’s memory about a place or person they knew. This is why place-based learning is so effective, it offers a chance for learners and teachers to take part in an exchange of knowledge, learning together and using the place where they live as common ground.

Making Connections

Continuing to bring place-based learning into school programming while connecting to the new curriculum will be an important part of our future programs. But learning about the place where you live doesn’t have to just happen in school. If you’re like me, learning your city’s history can be just as meaningful and important as an adult. Connecting with your local museum is one way to unlock some of those hidden secrets about your city’s past.